by Malcolm Bream
At the beginning of November 2016 I was on patrol with the Street Pastors in the middle of Wimbledon. It was about midnight. I saw him in the shop doorway, passed out through drink and totally oblivious to the people walking by. To make matters worse, he was the wrong way round, meaning his feet were up against the shop door and his head was on the pavement – an easy target for any person who thought it amusing to take a kick! He had soiled himself.
Later that month he got a place on the Merton Winter Night Shelter. I don’t think that I was alone in thinking he wouldn’t last on the shelter. But God had other plans.
As far as I can tell, he stopped drinking immediately, allowing his natural charm and gentle nature to emerge. Although from another country, his English was excellent and he got a job. Staying on the shelter gave him the opportunity to save and he moved into a flat with another guest from the shelter. A year later, he is fit, well, still working and extremely happy.
The night shelter enabled him to do all of this.
This year’s guests are about to finish their time with Everyday Wimbledon on the shelter – they have the promise of another dozen weeks ahead with a number of other faith organisations. Already one guest has been found accommodation and he left us on Boxing Day to move into a new flat. Another of our guests from last year is now volunteering with us this year!
It is truly amazing to see the improvement in our guests week by week. With regular meals, access to showers and a safe and warm place to sleep, they are healthier, cleaner, happier, more positive, more determined – anything good you can name. Even as they leave us for this year, please continue to hold them up in your prayers.